IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/tpr/restat/v96y2014i3p431-443.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Liquidity Constraints and Consumer Bankruptcy: Evidence from Tax Rebates

Author

Listed:
  • Tal Gross

    (Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and NBER)

  • Matthew J. Notowidigdo

    (University of Chicago Booth School of Business and NBER)

  • Jialan Wang

    (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

Abstract

We estimate the extent to which legal and administrative fees prevent liquidity-constrained households from declaring bankruptcy. To do so, we study how the 2001 and 2008 tax rebates affected consumer bankruptcy filings. We exploit the randomized timing of the rebate checks and estimate that the rebates caused a significant short-run increase in consumer bankruptcies in both years, with larger effects in 2008 when the rebates were more generous and more widely distributed. Using hand-collected data from individual bankruptcy petitions, we document that households that filed shortly after receiving their rebate checks had higher average liabilities and liabilities-to-income ratios. © 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Tal Gross & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Jialan Wang, 2014. "Liquidity Constraints and Consumer Bankruptcy: Evidence from Tax Rebates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 431-443, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:96:y:2014:i:3:p:431-443
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00391
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle J. White, 1997. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 217-251.
    2. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
    3. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-142, February.
    4. Melvin Stephens Jr., 2003. ""3rd of tha Month": Do Social Security Recipients Smooth Consumption Between Checks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 406-422, March.
    5. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
    6. Nichols, Albert L & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1982. "Targeting Transfers through Restrictions on Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-377, May.
    7. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496.
    8. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
    9. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates-Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 986-1019, December.
    10. Scott Fay & Erik Hurst & Michelle J. White, 2002. "The Household Bankruptcy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 706-718, June.
    11. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    12. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles & David S. Johnson & Robert McClelland, 2013. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2530-2553, October.
    13. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Did the 2001 Tax Rebate Stimulate Spending? Evidence from Taxpayer Surveys," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17, pages 83-110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Larry H. Filer II & Jonathan D. Fisher, 2005. "The Consumption Effects Associated with Filing for Personal Bankruptcy," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 71(4), pages 837-854, April.
    15. Nathan B. Anderson & Jane K. Dokko, 2016. "Liquidity Problems and Early Payment Default among Subprime Mortgages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(5), pages 897-912, December.
    16. Scott Hankins & Mark Hoekstra & Paige Marta Skiba, 2011. "The Ticket to Easy Street? The Financial Consequences of Winning the Lottery," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 961-969, August.
    17. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2003. "Do Consumers React to Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 397-405, March.
    18. Marianne Bertrand & Adair Morse, 2009. "What Do High-Interest Borrowers Do with Their Tax Rebate?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 418-423, May.
    19. Evans, William N. & Moore, Timothy J., 2011. "The short-term mortality consequences of income receipt," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1410-1424.
    20. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    21. Wang, Hung-Jen & White, Michelle J, 2000. "An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reforms," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 255-286, January.
    22. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
    23. Ning Zhu, 2011. "Household Consumption and Personal Bankruptcy," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 1-37.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tal Gross & Timothy J. Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2022. "The Liquidity Sensitivity of Healthcare Consumption: Evidence from Social Security Payments," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 175-190, June.
    2. Fuchs-Schündeln, N. & Hassan, T.A., 2016. "Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 923-1012, Elsevier.
    3. Broda, Christian & Parker, Jonathan A., 2014. "The Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008 and the aggregate demand for consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S), pages 20-36.
    4. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Neale Mahoney & Johannes Stroebel, 2018. "Do Banks Pass through Credit Expansions to Consumers Who want to Borrow?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(1), pages 129-190.
    5. Carol Osler & Thang Nguyen & Tanseli Savaser, 2011. "Asymmetric Information and the Foreign-Exchange Trades of Global Custody Banks," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    6. George Bulman & Robert Fairlie & Sarena Goodman & Adam Isen, 2021. "Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(4), pages 1201-1240, April.
    7. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles & David S. Johnson & Robert McClelland, 2013. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2530-2553, October.
    8. Vyacheslav Mikhed & Barry Scholnick, 2016. "The Causes of Household Bankruptcy: The Interaction of Income Shocks and Balance Sheets," Working Papers 16-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    9. Effrosyni Adamopoulou & Roberta Zizza, 2015. "Accessorizing. The effect of union contract renewals on consumption," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1024, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    10. Agarwal, Sumit & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Meier, Stephan & Zou, Xin, 2020. "In the mood to consume: Effect of sunshine on credit card spending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    11. Gallagher, Emily A. & Gopalan, Radhakrishnan & Grinstein-Weiss, Michal & Sabat, Jorge, 2020. "Medicaid and household savings behavior: New evidence from tax refunds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 523-546.
    12. Frederik Plesner Lyngse, 2020. "Liquidity Constraints and Demand for Healthcare: Evidence from Danish Welfare Recipients," Papers 2010.14651, arXiv.org.
    13. Day Manoli & Nicholas Turner, 2018. "Cash-on-Hand and College Enrollment: Evidence from Population Tax Data and the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 242-271, May.
    14. Frederik Plesner Lyngse, 2020. "Liquidity Constraints and Demand for Healthcare: Evidence from Danish Welfare Recipients," CEBI working paper series 20-28, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    15. Adamopoulou, Effrosyni & Zizza, Roberta, 2017. "Regular versus Lump-Sum Payments in Union Contracts and Household Consumption," IZA Discussion Papers 10509, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Peter Ganong & Pascal Noel, 2019. "Consumer Spending during Unemployment: Positive and Normative Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2383-2424, July.
    17. Guney, Ibrahim Ethem & Hacihasanoglu, Yavuz Selim & Tumen, Semih, 2017. "Consumer Loan Response to Permanent Labor Income Shocks: Evidence from a Major Minimum Wage Increase," GLO Discussion Paper Series 58, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    18. William N. Evans & Timothy J. Moore, 2009. "Liquidity, Activity, Mortality," NBER Working Papers 15310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Jonathan A. Parker, 2015. "Why Don't Households Smooth Consumption? Evidence from a 25 Million Dollar Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. David Powell, 2020. "Does Labor Supply Respond to Transitory Income? Evidence from the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-38.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax rebates; consumer bankruptcy; liquidity constraints; liabilities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:96:y:2014:i:3:p:431-443. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://direct.mit.edu/journals .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Ann Olson (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://direct.mit.edu/journals .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.